Tiny homes are gaining an enormous following. The ultimate testament to ‘less is more,’ downsizing to an efficiently designed 800 square feet or less is gaining popularity.
Helping Columbus go tiny is Modern Tiny Living. The builder recently emerged as one of the few, if not only, tiny home builders within a six-hour radius.
A life of travel and a hatred of Ohio winters would lead Founder Daniel Hamilton and his wife to the tiny home concept. To escape colder months, Hamilton started looking at property in Panama or Costa Rica, which morphed into looking at container homes and then took another turn into sustainable living.
Growing up on a farm, it was a lifestyle that appealed to Hamilton.
“I enjoyed simple lives, simplicity, living off the land as much as possible,” he says.
Next came a series of ideas and connections that would put the Modern Tiny Living team in a position to not only build tiny homes, but offer consulting services around the complex process.
Trent Haery joined the team in a sales capacity and started going to a tiny home meetup group where me met Bruce Faris. Faris brought the technical chops with over a decade of engineering experience in the field, and zoning knowledge to back it up.
“He helped answer some holes that we had because he’s built tiny homes before,” Hamilton says.
As he learned more about the industry, Hamilton became even more certain of building a business around tiny homes.
“I could see that the industry was helping people toward financial freedom and to live the life of their dreams, not to be restricted by their jobs and careers,” Hamilton says.
Tiny homes also mean a smaller environmental impact and a tendency to reconnect dwellers with nature – all things that have been a part of Hamilton’s journey.
With Faris’ engineering expertise and a team of builders in Amish Country in Ohio, “We’re planning to have a few standard models but also offer fully customized for somebody that has a vision in their mind,” says Hamilton, adding Faris can draw anything and whatever he can draw, their builders can create.
Tiny homes typically come in two varieties – on wheels or not on wheels.
“We are going to be able to do both,” Hamilton says.
Tiny homes on a foundation are similar to a regular house with septic, water and electric, with options to add greener systems that are often synonymous with tiny living, like solar panels and rain purifiers. Prices will vary depending on location, but Hamilton says a tiny home still presents a more affordable option than a traditional build.
Options are plenty with tiny homes on wheels, ranging from almost a high-end tent/cabin to the comforts of an RV. Modern Tiny Living is often asked to explain the difference between a camper and a tiny home on wheels. While a camper is built to move every few days, a tiny home is built like a home – better insulation, a strong foundation, a structure that’s meant to last for decades.
A tiny home on wheels clocks in at $40,000 – $65,000 depending on upgrades and can go as low as $20,000 – $25,000 for a bare-bones model.
While most people think of a tiny home as a permanent residence, Hamilton says peoplee are finding more ways to use the structures. It can be a vehicle for a weekend getaway – as it is for he and his wife who are working on their tiny home to cart to Florida for the winter. Others add a tiny home to their property as a guest space, or in wooded areas to rent for extra income.
When it comes to placing a tiny home in Columbus, “Every neighborhood is totally different,” Hamilton says.
As it stands, he thinks most homes on wheels will be outside city limits, “But there is a big push in the industry to start creating zoning to allow,” Hamliton says.
Mostly gaining steam in Oregon, California and Washington so far, he hopes to see more progress in zoning over the next five to ten years.
With no fewer than six shows on networks like HGTV bearing the tiny name, Hamilton is seeing a lot of interest in Modern Tiny Living. People have seen the structures on TV, but want to see it in person.
While many leads are more curiosity than serious buyer, Hamilton says there are two polar opposite groups turning tiny: millennials and baby boomers. Millennials are looking for a faster way out of debt while building equity, and are more apt to want to spend their money on experiences instead of things. Baby Boomers are a generation of empty nesters looking to downsize.
For anyone on the fence, Modern Tiny Living welcomes a conversation. Their consulting services, which Hamilton says set them apart from other builders, “can get a lot of people over the hump of how do I do this?”
For more information, visit moderntinyliving.com.
Modern Tiny Living will host a Tiny Living Talk on Saturday, July 23, covering information from how to live tiny to architectural and zoning requirements. Click here for more information.